More U.S. Pressure Against Iran
June 6, 2006
U. S. Seeking European "Anti-Missile" Base
In another step directed against Iran, the U.S. announced recently that it is seeking to build a missile base in Europe.
On May 22, the New York Times reported that the new Bush administration proposal calls for installing 10 "antimissile interceptors" by the year 2011 somewhere in Eastern Europe. The Czech Republic or Poland are under consideration as the most likely place. In early April, Pentagon and State Department officials visited Warsaw to carry out discussions on the project, and U.S. officials said the Polish government has been receptive.
In Congressional testimony and published reports, U.S. officials state the proposal is already receiving funds and research is underway. The Pentagon has asked Congress for $56 million to begin initial work on the "anti-missile" site, and the final cost, including the interceptors themselves, is estimated at $1.6 billion. The Pentagon is seeking $9.3 billion for its entire "missile defense" budget for the 2007 fiscal year. About $2.4 billion is to go for fielding new systems and maintaining existing ones while the remainder is for additional development and testing.
As with previous rhetoric from the Bush administration concerning its strategic "ballistic missile program," officials emphasize that the European base would be "defensive" in nature.
But these are clearly offensive weapons systems and a key component in Bush's program of further militarizing the world. Officials have even admitted that Iran does not have intercontinental-range missiles and many experts say it is a "long way from developing" even a multi-stage rocket. The missiles are designed as a first-strike weapon which can wipe out the strategic or short-range missiles of an adversary, thus destroying its deterrent force and leaving it defenseless. This greatly increases the threat and reality of a first-strike attack, including a nuclear attack, by the U.S.
By extending its "missile defense" network to Poland and the Czech Republic, the U.S. is not only further threatening but strengthening its military presence in Europe.
The U.S. is pressuring Japan and European nations to impose economic sanctions against Iran.
According to U.S. officials, the sanctions are in response to Iran's efforts to develop nuclear technology and are "designed to curtail the financial freedom of every Iranian official, individual and entity."
The new plans would restrict the Tehran government's access to foreign currency and global markets, shut its overseas accounts and freeze assets held in Europe and Asia. Iranians who appear on a list being drawn up by U.S. officials would be prevented from opening accounts, trading on foreign markets or obtaining credit.
Four of the largest European banks have already started restricting activities in Iran during the past six months in response to the U.S. threats. One of these, UBS of Switzerland, says it will no longer do direct business with any individuals, businesses or banks in Iran. Also, last month, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 30 leading countries, reduced Iran's rating as a "business risk."